Fort Benning protesters get maximum sentence

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Three people accused of trespassing on Fort Benning were convicted and given the maximum penalty of six months in prison.

The protesters took part in annual demonstrations in November against the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas.

The school trains Latin American soldiers, and opponents say it’s linked to human rights violations in Latin America.

The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports that 77-year-old Father Luis Vitale of Oakland, Calif., 63-year-old Nancy Gwin of Syracuse, N.Y., and 60-year old Kenneth Hayes of Austin, Texas, were sentenced Monday.

A fourth protester, 61-year-old Michael Walli of Washington, didn’t appear. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

Protesters are frequently arrested during the annual protest, but organizer Eric LeCompte said Monday’s sentences were harsher than usual.

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